A lot has been said about the novel Coronavirus and all forms of palliative geared towards alleviating the virus and hunger but in many climes especially in Africa, little or no attention is paid to the increasing violence and stigmatization against women and girls even though about 283 Women Rights groups had warned of likely increase in SGBV during the lockdown and this played out to be true as many offices including the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, attested to increase in spousal battery, rape and child sexual abuse since the lockdown.
These informed my taking it upon myself to campaign that government should address Gender Based Violence and harmful practices against women in all settings inNigeria, where I come from.
Although the country is signatory to several international and regional institutions protecting women against Sexual and Gender Based Violence, ratified both the convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW and Protocol to African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa 25 years ago but protection of women against Sexual and Gender Based Violence has remained on paper as only 4 states and the Federal Capital Territory out of the 36 states have domesticated the Violence against Person Prohibition, VAPP, Act 2015.
The Protection against Domestic Violence Bill 2016 that would have chatted a course for the adoption has remained a Bill since the Nigeria's 8th Assembly's tenure finished in 2019.
I have taken to the social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp to propagate that the protection and promotion of Rights of Women and Girls be prioritised as the pandemic is compounding existing gender inequalities and increasing risks of gender based violence.
Now is the time to speak out so let's start.